5 Things You Should Be Doing Right Now to Prepare for #GivingTuesday

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It’s time to get ready for #GivingTuesday on November 27, 2018. Even if you aren’t the kind of person who usually pre-plans, a few preparations to get a jump on your fundraising plan for #GivingTuesday will pay off.

If somehow you haven’t heard of #GivingTuesday, it’s an annual International Day of Giving event that takes place on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving that started back in 2012. It mostly happens online and it can help to amplify your year-end fundraising efforts.

Last year, #GivingTuesday saw a significant increase in donations. In 2016, $177 million in online donations occurred on #GivingTuesday. In 2017, the total was $300 million. That’s a 69 percent increase. See what I mean about paying off?

Another way to think about November 27 is as the beginning of your end-of-year fundraising effort. The planning and work that you do with that deadline will help carry you through the whole season. Especially if you are a smaller organization with limited resources, it might seem wasteful to expend a lot of energy for a single 24-period. Instead, think of it as the opening day of the giving season.

Here are five ways you can get a head start on your #GivingTuesday strategy:

1) Find a story to tell that inspires.

“People don’t just give because they’re asked to,” according to CauseVox. “They give because they’re motivated by the story of a friend, a video you post on social media, or the client spotlight in your e-newsletter. Giving is the result of inspiration.”

Think about who you want to inspire. You may want to focus on your online audiences, people on your email list or your social media followers. Who are they? How are they different from your other supporters? Think about what kind of story you can tell. You’ll likely want your end-of-year fundraising to use the same story as your #GivingTuesday campaign. Something appropriate for the season that can be heard through the noise.

2) Prep your tech.

Make sure that all your online donation pages are working seamlessly. Even better, have someone analyze your fundraising user experience. Too many clicks? Not enough security? Figure it out before November. Build your potential #GivingTuesday donor base by growing your email list and your social media followers. Make sure that your donation page has a follow-up that goes to donors after they’ve given. A thank-you email, at the very least. An email that offers another way to get involved or shows the impact of the donation is even better. You might want your follow-up email to be specific to #GivingTuesday when it happens.

3) Draft a plan.

“The best way to plan this day is to think about it as you would any other fundraising campaign,” according to CauseVox. “It’s not just a 24-hour event. Instead, it’s an opportunity for storytelling, donor cultivation, supporter engagement, and a way to build awareness around your organization and mission.” A plan needs goals based on your organization’s needs. Figure out what staff and budget you can allocate to the project. Now share your plan with your team. Yes, now. I know it seems early, but months pass so quickly. You need your team on-board.

4) Use #GivingTuesday resources.

GivingTuesday.org offers a lot of resources to help you plan. Get on one of their weekly calls or Google+ Hangouts. Check out their blog posts and online tools. The #GivingTuesday toolkit has ideas, logos, and branding materials, videos, and more. Their blog also regularly shared updated examples of successful fundraising materials from other organizations that participate in #GivingTuesday. Join the #GivingTuesday campaign as a partner to start receiving updates and information right away.

5) Try something new.

A 24-campaign is a great place to try something new. Maybe a peer-to-peer fundraiser to expand your donor base? Maybe try telling your story with video? On social media, you could try creating a special #GivingTuesday hashtag, going LIVE on Facebook, or using Instagram Stories. Why not integrate a physical event for extra engagement. How about a walk-a-thon? Giving up a meal? To come up with novel ideas, hold a brainstorming session. Talk to some of your current supporters and solicit ideas from them. Talk to corporate partners, too. Try an idea that is exciting. If it excites you, it has a chance to inspire others.

If you'd like more resources about how to plan successfully for #GivingTuesday, we've have ignite: action blog posts about: strategy, successful campaigns to draw inspiration from, and ways to extend your campaign into the whole giving season.